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Archived - Minister Wong meets with National Seniors Council and holds roundtable on social isolation of seniors

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July 16, 2014 – Gatineau, Quebec – Employment and Social Development

The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), and members of the National Seniors Council (NSC) met today in Gatineau with seniors’ organizations, service and health providers, researchers and practitioners to discuss how social isolation affects seniors and explore ways to prevent and/or reduce its occurrence.

Between November 2013 and June 2014, the NSC met with individuals and organizations from across Canada as part of a series of cross-country consultations. Today's national roundtable marks the conclusion of these consultations and serves to validate what was heard. The NSC will submit its recommendations to the Minister of State for Seniors (who oversees the work of the NSC), the Minister of Employment and Social Development and the Minister of Health in fall 2014.

Social isolation touches many aspects of seniors’ lives, such as active participation, healthy aging, income security, caregiving and transportation. Social isolation can lead to depression and increased vulnerability to elder abuse, among other concerns. According to a Statistics Canada 2012 health report, one in four seniors reported that they would have liked to have participated in more social activities.

Quick facts

  • The NSC was established in 2007 to advise the Government of Canada on matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors, including the opportunities and challenges arising from a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse population of seniors.
  • The NSC has undertaken work on elder abuse, the effects of low income among seniors, volunteerism and positive and active aging. Most recently, it explored approaches to attracting older workers to the labour force and retaining them.
  • The Government of Canada recently approved 24 New Horizons for Seniors Program pilot projects—an investment of more than $1.7 million—aimed at addressing seniors’ social isolation.


“Our government is committed to helping seniors maintain a high quality of life and be active members of their communities. We are working with our partners to encourage seniors to stay active, engaged and informed in a rapidly changing world. That’s why it’s so important to address the issue of social isolation by listening to seniors and consulting with key players from the non-profit, public and private sectors.”

– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

“We are confident that the National Seniors Council’s findings will help the Government of Canada better understand and address the needs of seniors. Keeping seniors active and socially engaged benefits not just the seniors, but also their communities as a whole.”

– Dr. Andrew Wister, Chair of the NSC

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Earl Maynard
Office of the Minister of State (Seniors)

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